After a walk of about thirty-five minutes we came to a clearing before the trees lost their erratic spacing and stretched out before us on either side of what appeared to be a green lane. My first thought was that it must have been an old Roman road as it looked so straight but Gerry told me that it was probably far older than that. It was one of Alfred Watkin’s possible ley lines. Probably the straighest one that could be traced on the ground as well as on the map. I realised that by looking back over the way we had come I would probably have been able to see the trilithon we had been admiring earlier that morning. I was curious as to what the next point may be on the line. The answer was the old Hemingford Grey church which was just visible at the end of the avenue, especially if I used his binoculars. I took them from his hand and sure enough in the distance was the tall, grey spire just visible on the horizon. The sun appeared to be shining brightly over there, glinting off what was probably a weather-vane or perhaps a lightning conductor. Even with the glasses it was too far to make out. Gerald then turned and told me that before the war the church tower was quite awe-inspiring but sadly a spitfire pilot had come to grief at the very spot. Curious as to the story I pressed him to tell me more. I knew that this part of Cambridgeshire had many airfields during the war and there were a lot of pilot training facilities. It transpired that after one sortie a young pilot on only his second mission had been returning to his base having only one engine serviceable. Being inexperienced and not inured to the trials of war he was still quite headstrong and was certain that he could make it back to his base only twelve miles further on. The aircrew’s usual landmark for return was the spire of the church but sadly this time his second engine failed as he was passing the spire at low altitude ready to turn for home. With an injury to one arm he was unable to slide the cockpit canopy back and eject. Through sheer bad luck the plane spiralled down with him still inside, demolishing the whole spire as he plummeted to the ground and his death in the ensuing blaze. In memory of this event the authorities had left the spire un-repaired leaving it as a rather lower square tower. But to me that was impossble for had I not just seen the spire through the binoculars. I raised them to my eyes again and this time I could see only the flat crenellated tower as described. This left me in quite a severe state as I knew that earlier I had seen the church as it was more than sixty years previously. A chill came over me probably brought on by the thought of that poor airman but also because I was worried that this ley line might have some more curious tricks up it’s sleeve.
Based on the true story of hemingford church